In today’s 1929 Western Journey, you’ll learn about an interesting woman. It seemed the Franzen’s were captivated by Christian Evangelist, Aimee McPherson’s stage presence and exuberance. While certainly in an entirely different setting and situation, the mysterious woman we encountered on the Alaska Highway also held our interest in much the same way.
The fourth day we started back, but we took a different route, and part of the trip was really bad, but finally it got even worse, and then to make it still worse, it commenced to rain, and make it dangerous.
Well, we finally got back to Hermet, when we took the bus and went back to Claas Tholen’s, where we stayed over night, and next day, he took us back to his parents’ at Long Beach. The next day was Sunday, and Claas gave us a ride of 120 miles. I forgot how many towns he took us to. Oh, they all treated us equally well, and we saw about all there was to be seen. The next day was March 28, when we took the electric train to Los Angeles, where Mrs. Ruth Crum met us at the depot. She took us to the Willard Steward home, where we took dinner and supper.
After supper, Mrs. Crum took us to Mrs. Amie McPherson’s church, where we found a large crowd. The jam was so great that we were almost lifted from our feet.
This church has 17 entrances and they were almost unable to handle the crowd. We finally got inside and were given seats where we had a splendid view of the whole church and platform where Mrs. McPherson delivered her sermon.
As the building is a three-story round structure, the seats also run in a half-moon circle. On one side of the church there were three floors of seats, one above the other. The seats were elevated so they gave everybody a good view. Back of the speaker’s platform they had 199 seats, also in half circle, which were taken by a crowd of 100 ladies, all in white robes and beautiful ornamental aprons. Every seat was taken and the church at this particular evening held 5,000 people.
After the sermon they served the Lord’s Supper to the whole audience, that is, those that desired to take it. About 80 men were each given a large silver plate that contained the bread. These plates were passed along the rows of seats, giving each person a chance to help himself. After the bread had been passed they also passed the wine. Each tray held about 70 or more small glasses filled with wine.
Then came the baptizing. Back of the stand and in front of the choir, they had an artificial lake, and in this lake 150 persons were baptized. They took two at a time. Mrs. McPherson herself performed the baptizing. She had a helper to assist her in the work.
After it was all over we started for Miss Bohlen’s home, by taking a bus. Next day was Good Friday. In the forenoon we started for the Peter’s church. After church we went back to Miss Nan Bohlen’s. Next day, Miss Bohlen took us out sight seeing and we attended a picnic. Next day was Easter. We got up at 3:30 a.m. After breakfast we took a bus to Easter services which were held in a roofless structure called the Coliseum, which had almost unbelievable seating capacity.
Author’s Note: rest of article missing…so sorry
H. H. Franzen
The Coliseum was commissioned in 1921 as a memorial to veterans of World War I (re-dedicated to veterans of all wars in 1968). The official ground breaking ceremony took place on December 21, 1921 with work being completed in just over 16 months, on May 1, 1923. Designed by John and Donald Parkinson, the original bowl’s initial construction costs were $954,873. When the Coliseum opened in 1923, it was the largest stadium in Los Angeles with a capacity of 75,144. In 1930, however, with the Olympics due in two years, the stadium was extended upward to seventy-nine rows with two tiers of tunnels, expanding the seating to 101,574. The now-signature torch was added. For a time it was known as Olympic Stadium.
For more history on the Coliseum visit here
Aimee Semple McPherson (October 9, 1890-September 27, 1944), also know as Sister Aimee, was a Canadian-American Los Angeles based evangelist and media celebrity in the 1920s and 1930s. She founded the Foursquare Church. McPherson has been noted as a pioneer in the use of modern media, especially radio, and was the second woman to be granted a broadcast license. She used radio to draw on the growing appeal of popular entertainment in North America and incorporated other forms into her weekly sermons at Angelus Temple.
In her time she was the most publicized Christian evangelist, surpassing Billy Sunday and her other predecessors. Public faith-healing demonstrations were conducted by her before large crowds, allegedly healed tens of thousands of people. McPherson’s articulation of the United States as a nation founded and sustained by divine inspiration continues to be echoed by many pastors in churches today. Her media image, which sensationalized difficulties with her mother and daughter, as well as a mysterious five-week disappearance, shrouded her extensive charity work and significant contributions to the revitalization of American Christianity in the 20th century.